Recent Research (Mirror’s Edge)

The past three weeks I was a counselor at GameWerks, a camp for teens who want to make games. For two hours each day we had “research time,” where we chose from a luxurious array of consoles and games ranging from Atari to PS3.

It was a great chance to play or at least see some AAA Western titles, which I don’t have a lot of familiarity with. One stood out for me- Mirror’s Edge, the first person parkour game for PS3 and Xbox 360 (developed by DICE and released by EA in 2008).

Now, I’m not a fan of reality simulation games (where the people, places, and laws of physics are all designed to closely simulate those of reality) or first person games, but the visual design really struck me. Most areas are reduced to grayscale with a single primary color (red, blue, yellow, or in some cases orange). It makes striking environments out of what are otherwise everyday settings (office buildings, rooftops, etc.).

From what a student told me, the colors are determined by the type of area (office, factory, outdoors), but I can’t find anything else about that online. I do know that objects you can interact with in parkour style are highlighted in red.

In any case, it transforms an otherwise standard reality simulation into a striking and memorable world where simple, bright colors inform and guide the player. I only played and watched less than an hour of it, but that was my rough impression.

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